Nepal | April 07, 2020

With flights halted, COVID-19 test samples stuck

Himalayan News Service

Dhangadi, March 25

It has become very difficult to send COVID-19 suspects’ samples to Kathmandu for tests following the flight disruption amid the government-imposed nationwide lockdown as preventive and precautionary measure against the possible outbreak of novel coronavirus, in Sudurpaschim Province.

A suspect’s blood test could not be performed owing to lack of corona blood test laboratory in Sudurpaschim. A person’s blood sample was sent to Sudurpaschim Province Public Health Laboratory at Taranagar after he was suspected of having contracted COVID-19, but the public health laboratory could not send the blood sample to Kathmandu due to lack of air service. Earlier, the public health laboratory had sent blood samples to Kathmandu-based National Public Health Laboratory for the test.

Sudurpaschim Province Public Health Laboratory acting Director Asmita Sapkota said the COVID-19 suspect’s blood sample could not be sent to Kathmandu after air service was halted following the nationwide lockdown imposed by the government since yesterday. She said it would normally take three days for the report to reach Dhangadi from Kathmandu.

Sapkota added that the blood samples of 14 persons had been sent to Kathmandu from Seti Provincial Hospital till date. “But all the test reports were negative,” she informed.

Sapokta said they have been facing problems sending the blood samples. “The province government will find some way out,” she informed.

A doctor working at Seti Provincial Hospital said the province lacked good laboratory facility. “There is no mechanism for testing the blood sample to find out if someone was infected,” he added. He said a modern laboratory had to be established soon. “There is no point in preparing other things if there is no laboratory,” he said.



A version of this article appears in print on March 26, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.

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